Fuchsia Anyone?



Why would anybody travel with a fuchsia baggage trolley? Wildly extravert perhaps? In dire need of being noticed, maybe? A sick and twisted weirdo for whom rationale is irrelevant? Must you offend me with your judgements?


I was quite specific about the dimensions of my trolley when the salesperson served me. But not about the colour. Specifics are sometimes very important, although on this occasion, size was my first priority.


You see RyanAir are very particular about the limits of carry-on luggage on their flights and, apart from being a cheapskate regarding costs and other trifles, I like to travel with the least complications; light and small, so that I can simply walk aboard, and exit on arrival as quickly and smoothly as possible. Definitely no book-in luggage for me. In winter, I sometimes resemble a stuffed blimp in order to maintain my mimimalist travel mode, but it’s a minor inconvenience that I’m quite prepared to suffer.


The baggage-shop employee tried to fob me off with several choices, but each was either a little too big to fit the bill, or slightly too small. I was finicky, not wanting to challenge the stipulated limits and find myself paying for excess luggage, nor short-change my very-limited volume of stuff: computer, bathroom bag, and a modest change of clothes leaves little space for extras in a 40x20x56 centimetre bag trolley, wheels and handles included. I would not compromise my dimensions.


“Well we do have one model that is precisely the size you need. But,” and she paused with an expression of grave doubt on her face, “we have only one colour remaining.”


She timidly led me around the corner to the aisle to where the bag was to be found. There could be no doubt as to which was the offending item, for the colour screamed violently to be noticed. It was the brightest, most vivid shade of fuchsia that any chemist could possibly concoct.


Hmmm. My first reaction perfectly echoed the salesperson’s doubt. Then I took stock, recalling two recent travelling incidents, which I’d experienced. Both were self-inflicted. Nobody would characterise me as being an excessively ordered type of person. Several weeks earlier, returning from London, I was halfway into Frankfurt city by the time I recognised that my baggage seemed a little too light. Oh shit, I oathed to myself the moment I realised that in the scramble to exit the late-night flight, I’d left my laptop squeezed in the space next to my seat!


What a hassle. One phone-call revealed that the lost-property office was already closed for the night, so I had to suffer the anxious wait until the morning before I was able to confirm that – trust my good luck – the missing computer was waiting for me safely back at the airport. A bit of a hassle to retrace my steps, but a small tithe to pay for my carelessness.


Then, just two weeks later, returning by train from France, I was half-way out of the station at Milan Central when I realised that I’d left my day-pack on the train. Double shit! Wallet, passport, camera, credit cards and other precious paraphernalia. This was a seriously really stupid oversight, and I hurtled back to the platform where we’d arrived, dragging my cumbersome suitcase, mind racing, acutely aware of the grim reputation Milano Centrale has for thieves, pick-pockets, bag-slashers and all other forms of low-life desperadoes lurking to pray on the gullible, careless, or foolish. I’m obviously a combination of all three.  What chance did I have? Scrambling back on the carriage, I almost knocked over an elderly couple who’s been slow in organising their luggage and collecting their thoughts.


“You have left your back-pack,” the man announced, recognising the reason for my desperate expression. I know, you’ll be thinking that I’m a complete flip-case. What could I offer to deny your judgement? ‘Chaos’ will surely be my simple epitaph. What have I done to deserve such an extraordinary guardian angel to take care of me? We don’t need to discuss my super-natural support system, I’m sure you’ll agree. And I haven’t embarrassed myself by mentioning the litany of other ‘incidents’. No no, we won’t even think about the wallet left on the bus from Como, finding it’s way back to me 10 days later. I’d forgotten about that one already.


“Ah, fuchsia”, I exclaimed delightedly to the shocked salesperson.”It’s just perfect; how could you know that it’s my favourite colour?” I refused her kind offer to pack it discretely, and happily rolled it out of the store.


My ‘choice’ has already been rewarded, of course. Leaving for a week in Sicilia last week, I absent-mindedly left my phone on my desk – don’t say it; I know what your’re thinking – and only realised it at the airport. I didn’t even bother to swear at myself this time, but instead celebrated the fact that I would not be bothered by the infernal beast for a whole 7 days.


Still, it was a bother that I could not be contacted on arrival by whoever would pick me up, nor could I phone, since the numbers were in my forgotten phone. Fortunately I had one relevant email address in my computer, so I messaged her, who would then be able to relay my message to the appropriate person: “Phone left at home so can’t be contacted. However, no problem to recognise me. My baggage is fuchsia.” Problem solved indeed; I was recognised from afar in the crowded Catania arrival hall. All praise to the fuchsia trolley.


By now I’m sure you’ll understand why this ‘anyone’ would travel with a gawdy fuchsia trolley bag. Even I have difficulty in overlooking it, and surely the most desperate thief or kleptomaniac would think twice before stealing my luggage. Fuchsia’s the way to go.